The process for prioritizing walkway construction has gone through many changes over the years. While walkways are typically a highway department function, funding has historically been sought by the Planning Board, with recommendations from the Walkway Committee. What has been missing from all of these methods are the residents who may be affected by these projects. This year, a significant departure for prioritization has been developed with more resident input and participation. With $100,000 in funding approved through the Community Preservation Act in 2006, and no specific walkway in mind for construction, the Department of Planning and Community Development initiated a new process to increase resident participation in the process. Residents desiring walkways in their neighborhoods were asked to work with their neighbors to gain support for walkway construction. Each petition submitted for review was to have the support of at least 75% of the affected property owners, and a neighborhood coordinator needed to be identified. It was felt that working together for a common goal would make the process easier and more acceptable. The deadline to submit petitions was January 31, 2007.
Five petitions for walkway construction were received. The DPW Director, Bill Place, the Town’s Safety Officer, Rocky Conrado, and the Director of Planning and Community Development, Jody Kablack, have prioritized the petitions as follows:
Old Lancaster Road
This order was based on a matrix of objectives taken directly from the 2000 Report of the Walkway Committee. Other factors included the ability to construct the walkway within the town right-of-way, or within previously granted easements, and the costs. The completed Walkway Priorities Matrix contains all criteria used in making the recommendations.
It is likely that both the Raymond Road and Peakham Road walkways can be constructed with the money appropriated in 2006. It is anticipated that the DPW Department will begin its work in the spring of 2007, and neighborhood coordinators will be notified of potential start dates.
Additional funds will need to be approved to continue walkway construction after this $100,000 is spent. Future funding requests will be submitted at the 2008 Annual Town Meeting to continue the program.
These recommendations will be presented to the Planning Board for a public discussion on March 28, 2007 at 7:30 pm at Town Hall. All interested residents are invited to attend this meeting.